A Better Way (Part One)

Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did-Casting Crowns

Today I’m going to be addressing a topic that’s difficult, yet one of the most pressing issues in Christian circles right now. It’s a sensitive topic, so admittedly, I’ve been a little apprehensive about blogging on this subject. Thus, I’m going to ask you to put biases and preconceived notions aside and listen objectively to what I’m going to say.

We live in a generation with a lot of big topics and news articles popping up. Nonetheless, one that seems to be especially reoccurring is the topic of homosexuality. According to williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu, there are approximately nine million adult Americans who identify as LGBT, not including teenagers. While the LGBT crowd is still technically a minority, nine million is a pretty huge amount of people.

Homosexuality is still a fairly new topic in American culture. Though it’s been around since the Biblical days, and though there were likely “closeted” gay oriented people throughout American history, it’s only been openly discussed since roughly the 1980s. Nonetheless, the newness of it in American culture hasn’t stopped people from speaking out very loudly on the topic. The best analogy that I can think of to describe the conversation surrounding this issue would have to be a game of ping pong. Both stances, hurling insults back and forth. Often, the shouting match is so loud that neither side can really hear what the other is saying.

I remember I was about fourteen when I first really started having serious questions about the topic. As many young teenage girls do, I read articles by my favorite singers and actors. By doing so, I was exposed to a pretty good deal of information on homosexuality, as many of them spoke out in support of the LGBT Community. I heard statistics of gay suicide rates and some of the legitimate struggles of gay oriented people. Hearing about how often gay oriented people struggle with depression stirred up a lot of compassion in me. I than thought back to things that I heard on the topic from Christian circles, and felt seriously conflicted. What was my view on the topic?

For a long time, my view simply bounced back and forth, whichever seemed right at the time. To some degree, I tried to avoid the topic as hearing about it only seemed to cause more confusion. One problem with that method. I couldn’t escape hearing about it. The harder I tried to avoid the topic, the more it popped up. I remember hanging out with some of my friends one day, and one friend telling us how her friend recently came out of the closet to her. None of us had any real advice. One friend simply said she disagreed with it and my other friend and I merely sat back and said nothing. Another thing that triggered questions was a character on a long running TV show. Throughout the show, it is speculated that one of the characters is gay. Interesting thing is, it’s never even hinted that the character is with someone of the same gender. So it made me wonder, what about people who are just attracted to people of the same gender? What are the rules when it comes to mere orientation?

Finally, I confessed my questions to my Mom, who told me to go research it. I had thought about that before, but was always a little hesitant, worried that I wouldn’t like the answer that I would find. Reluctantly, I googled Christian view on homosexuality, expecting to see somewhat homophobic answers. To my surprise, I found a very lengthy article on the subject. It said something that really struck a chord with me. It said that just as an alcoholic can stand up in an AA meeting and say that they’re an alcoholic, but through God’s grace, not drinking, so can a gay person stand up in a prayer meeting and say that they have a gay orientation (Same sex attraction), but through God’s grace, they’re living chastely. That one sentence, though relatively simplistic, was packed with a lot of information to me.

One, that having a gay orientation is not a sin, two that churches should allow gay oriented people to be open and honest about that part of themselves. I really liked that stance there. It allowed me to hold to both my understanding of scripture and my compassion for the LGBT Community.

I didn’t have to compromise anything.

That article prompted me to research the topic even further, spending hours reading books and articles on having a compassionate, understanding, Christian approach to homosexuality. I found some articles and videos by awesome, wise, Christian gay and lesbian people such as Julie Rodgers and Wesley Hill who helped me better understand this issue.

I’ve been asked why this is such an important topic to me, being that I’m not gay myself. I suppose that a big reason that this topic is so important to me, is because gay people have often been outcasted for being different. While I can’t relate to being attracted to other girls, there have been times in the past that I’ve felt like an outcast. I’ve been in classes where I didn’t have any friends, forcing me to sit awkwardly by myself. There have been other times that I’ve been the “odd one out” because my taste in movies or television has been different than what’s popular, because I don’t share in the same hobbies as the people that I’m hanging out with, etc. I’m not saying this to have a pity party but rather to explain why this is an important topic to me and how many of us, in that way, can find common ground with gay oriented people.

To sum up this blog post, what if there’s a better way to handle this topic than merely saying “I don’t support gay marriage”. What if, we loved this group of people unconditionally, the way that Jesus loves all of us? What if we took the time to try to understand their struggles and listen to their stories? What if we befriended them, looking deeper than gay and seeing them as one of God’s beautiful creations? I understand that this is a topic that isn’t often addressed and that it can be somewhat complex, so if you have any questions about what I said in this article, I urge you you to post them in the comments section. I’ll do the best that I can to answer them.

This is a very thought insightful and thought provoking video by a woman who is both gay and Christian, Julie Rodgers. Julie has a blog on WordPress as well if you would like to know more about this topic from someone who has lived it first hand.